This post brought to you by Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.
When we take the time to include children in our gardening, we are giving them the opportunity to grow a love for planting and growing beauty or food.
I try to keep flowers on our porch all summer long to give the children in my care exposure to living, beautiful things. They can touch them, smell them, and at times pick them. Learning when and when not to pick is important too. 🙂
This year it is spring and the time is right to re-plant my hanging basket.
To get started you will need an old basket from last year or a new one. This is mine from last year. I will need to take the old dirt out and refill with new. We decided this year to go with pansies to fill it with.
Several years ago, as a new gardener, I used to get all excited about spring when the new flowers came into the stores. I would buy a bunch of them, take them home, stick them in the dirt and somehow hope they would grow. Every once in a while I would remember to water them. They eventually would all die, or grow, but not really well.
I remember going to my Grandma Forman’s house and all of her plants were big and beautiful. One day I asked her how she did it. She asked me, “do you water them?” Well yes, sometimes. She gave me that look, then asked me, “Do you feed them?” Feed them! I said with amazement. “Well you need to eat don’t you?” Of course I said. “Well so do they.” A light bulb went off in my head that day. Miracle-Gro became my new best garden buddy.
On a nice day we would have done this outside. The wind is really blowing so I laid out paper to make for an easier clean up. You would think now all you have to do is stick those plants in the dirt and they will grow and be beautiful. That is what I used to think.
Another secret that Grandma Forman shared with me, was the need to dead head these new plants. That means you go into the plant and pick off all the flowers and small buds that are already formed.
The first time I did this, it was the hardest thing I had ever done in planting. I wanted instant flowers in my pots. I did not want to wait. What I learned after that first year of following her directions is that, after you pick the flowers off, all the new growth goes into the plant and you get nice big healthy plants that produce so many more bigger and longer lasting flowers.
It might be painful, but it really is worth it. Now to stick them into the dirt. I let the children that are able, do all the digging and planting. I usually just guide them. Teaching them to dump the plant out of the container is always fun to watch.
If it comes out of the pot with lots of roots running in a circle it is best to gently break the bottom of the root ball in half so the plant has a better chance of spreading out and growing bigger. Then you dig the hole and stick the plant into the basket. I chose to plant 4 pansies into this basket to start with. If after they begin to grow I want the basket to be a bit fuller, or I want something to hang down, I can get the little color spot plants and stick them into the dirt between the pansies later.
Now all that is left to do, is to water and feed my little plants and watch them grow. Note: pansy flowers are fun to eat in salads. Children can’t believe it when I serve them flowers for lunch.
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